This 3D printed robot can scoot along power lines to inspect them

Gigaom

Power lines wear out. To figure out when that happens, utility companies must use equipment like infrared cameras, helicopters and robots.

A new robot out of the University of California-San Diego is meant to make the whole process simpler and cheaper. Robots are generally deployed to scoot along power lines when they cross dangerous stretches of ground or are located high in the air — times when it would be especially treacherous for a human to inspect the lines. Robots can also be used to keep an eye on equipment like bridge cables.

UC-San Diego’s SkySweeper is smaller, lighter and expected to cost less than $1,000. Made of brightly colored, mostly 3D printed plastic parts, the robot is made of two legs that come together to form a V. The legs squeeze together and then extend, moving the bot forward like an inch worm.

“Current line inspection robots are…

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By BeEtLjOoZ

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